Updated March 15 Fishing Report

Posted in: Fishing Report
By R Kenyon Aikens
Mar 15, 2012

Friday, March 16 stocking update: We stocked Oak Creek with 1,050 rainbows and the water temps ranged from 48-50 F. We stocked Dead Horse Ranch State Park with 3,600 rainbows and the water temp was 57 F. Goldwater Lake got 1,326 rainbows and the temp was 50F, Lynx Lake 1,326 and temp 49F, Fai Lake 1,350 and temp 53F. Parker Canyon Lake got 4,050 rainbows and temp was 56F. Lower Salt received 3,000 rainbows and the temp was 59F.

Stockings for the upcoming week include: Lower Salt River, Dead Horse Ranch, Verde River, Cluff Pound, Roper Lake, and Graham County Park.

Rory's Tips:

The sun is about to cross the celestial equator so get ready -- the Vernal Equinox, or the first day of spring, is March 21. The great spring fishing is well underway. Keep in mind that the new moon is March 22 and the next full moon is April 6.

(The photo on the left is from Lees Ferry)

Even with a weather front coming, this might be a good time to hit the Prescott area lakes; we are stocking rainbow trout in Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake and Fain Lake this week. Or maybe you'll want to head to the Verde Valley. We stocked the Verde River between Camp Verde and Cottonwood last week with 2,400 trout and the water temperature was an invigorating 54 F. This week we are stocking the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Also in the Verde Valley, we stocked both Wet Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek with trout last week. These two streams are fun to fish. Wet Beaver Creek is especially kid-friendly. To find it, get off I-17 at the Sedona exit, but instead of turning left and heading west, turn right and head east about five miles. There is a small campground where the road crosses the creek. Pretty picturesque old bridge too. The stream flows are a little low this year, but the fishing should still be decent.

If we get a nice dusting of snow on Sunday, Oak Creek can be absolutely beautiful to fish.

We have also stocked rainbow trout twice into Kaibab Lake near Williams. It might be one of the better trout fishing lakes right now. I am also getting some pretty good reports from Becker Lake near Springerville where they are catching some trophy-sized trout.

The beautiful Rim Lakes we are love are still frozen over, but I recevied a nice angler report and a picture (see on the left) of Willow Springs from Mark Reabold. This time of year, the ice will be unstable, so please wait for ice-out. It should be soon.

The National Weather Service predicts snow on Sunday though. Let's hope they are right -- we need the moisture!

Don't forget that we stocked the Lower Salt River with 3,000 rainbows last week. It might be worth a try, especially at first and last light. Had an angler call and say he couldn't catch a fish there, but he didn't get there until around 9 a.m. This time of year, the best bite might be over within an hour or so after sunrise.

For the warmwater lakes, the bass spawn is well underway at most waters, but the crappie don't seem to be getting with it yet. Maybe during the next full moon. Veteran crappie anglers have always told me that a full moon is the key to our speckled beauties getting into a romantic mood.

Top picks right now at Roosevelt, Saguaro and Pleasant for largemouth bass. Our wildlife manager at Havasu said the water is still a little chilly there for largemouth bass to get going big time, but anglers seem to be doing well for redear and bluegill using meal worms.

Alamo is going great guns for bass on beds, and the channel catfish angling is excellent. In fact, Alamo probably has the best catfishing in the state right now. Heard from two anglers who fished Alamo for crappie this week and they hit the speckled beauty bonanza. The expected front on Sunday will likely cool off the bite, but give it a few days and it should be right back.

Don't forget that our Arizona Game and Fish Department Expo is March 31 and April 1. Last year we drew around 43,000 people. Once again this year, we'll have two kids fishing tanks set up, plus the casting demonstration tank. I'll be at the demo tank both days. We'll be selling our new fishing guide at the Game and Fish Information Booth. Arizona Highways Magazine will also have a booth and will be selling the fishing guide. Drop by, say howdy, and I'll be glad to autograph a fishing book for you.

Here's another deal for you. Buy any two Shakespeare products (such as the Ugly Stick) that total $40 and a 2012 Arizona Fishing License (or show proof that you have one), submit the documentation by mail, and get $10 back by mail. For more information visit the Recreation and Boating and Fishing Foundation at

Looking for something to do this weekend, then try the Bill Luke Big Bass Days at Pleasant. For more information, visit

Go catch some memories. Maybe I'll see you out there.

Fishing News

Agua Fria Arm of Lake Pleasant open on Saturdays during March

Vehicular access to the Agua Fria arm of Lake Pleasant off Table Mesa Road is being allowed during certain prescribed hours on each Saturday in March.

The Maricopa County Parks, working collaboratively with Arizona Game and Fish, is allowing motorized vehicles towing small trailers/watercraft access to the shoreline for a limited time. The area is also open daily for walk-in access. The dates and times for motorized vehicle access are as follows:

  • Saturday, March 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 24 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 31 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During these designated Saturday gate openings, you’ll want to bring exact change: the entry fee is $6 per vehicle, $4 per motorized water craft and $2 per non-motorized water craft.


There is a primitive dirt launch ramp for boats on trailers. It’s steep, but there is a steel mesh mat on top of the dirt for traction.


Keep in mind that the Agua Fria River is not currently flowing (it could be if a storm dumps a lot of moisture), so right now there is no river to cross.

For additional information on the Agua Fria Conservation area, please visit  or call (928) 501-1710.


Biologists document best fishing at Lees Ferry in 10 years

Looking for a hot fishing spot? Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists said Lees Ferry in northern Arizona is currently providing its best fishing in more than a decade.

Biologists said the catch rates at Lees Ferry in 2011 were as high this past year as they were back during the good ole days, and the fishing is even better this year.

“Anglers are catching wild rainbows at two-fish per hour on average and some anglers have experienced 70-fish days or more,” said Aaron Bunch, a fisheries biologist with Game and Fish.

Bunch pointed out that he finds it amazing that despite the great fishing at Lees Ferry, angling pressure at Lees Ferry is low right now. 

Plus, this is the tail end of the trout spawn, so these wild rainbows are in their spawning regalia.

Anglers have the option to fish from shore, bring their own boat, or hire a guide.  Remember to check regulations before going out.

“The incredible rainbow trout fishing and unrivaled scenery has established this fishery as one of the best in the nation. This is a great time to enjoy Lees Ferry. Be careful, and as always – keep your lines tight!” Bunch said.


URBAN FISHING -- March offers the best time of the year to fish your nearby park lakes for trout, sunfish, bass and catfish.

Good fishing for trout will continue through March as all lakes received their final stockings the week of March 5-10. Most trout are biting on Power Bait fished on the bottom, but worms and small jigs have worked well at times. The cool morning hours are the best times to target the trout.

As waters warm up, try fishing for largemouth bass that are now moving closer to shore as they prepare to spawn and search for food. Regulations require that all bass under 13 inches must be released unharmed immediately.

Reports keep coming in of anglers catching catfish, even though it has been nearly four months since the last cats were stocked. Speaking of catfish, the catfish stocking season starts on Friday, March 23 at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters.

Excellent trout fishing conditions can be found at Payson’s Green Valley lakes. Best bets for these pine country trout are Power Bait, marshmallows and worms. Some success has been found by trout anglers using spinners, small spoons and jigs.

Riverview Lake will be closed to fishing for nearly two years beginning April 2. As part of Mesa’s new Cubs baseball stadium project, the lake will be drained and totally rebuilt with a reopening in early 2014. .    

TEMPE TOWN LAKE – Anglers are catching bass close to structure such as the bridges.  The south side was specifically mentioned but north side should do well for you too.  Anglers are catching fish 10 to 20 yards beyond the shoreline. 

Trout are scheduled to be stocked one last time on the week of March 19. Overall, trout fishing has been slow but it's still possible to catch one or two. Try night crawlers. 
LAKE PLEASANT - Lake elevation 1,694 feet (90 percent full). The lakes is approaching its normal maximum level at little early this year.

Largemouth bass are on beds in the shallow northern coves, and could be staging for the spawn throughout the lake. Keep in mind there is a protracted spawn, so only a small segment of the bass population spawns at any one time.

Drop shot is pulling in a few fish in the northern coves.  Water temps range from 53 in the open water to 57 in the coves.  Archery anglers are waiting patiently for the carp to kick into high gear.

It also sounds like the striped bass have been holding deep -- 60-feet-plus. This may change significantly once the CAP water pumping into the lake ceases. Not sure when that will happen, but the lake is getting pretty full, so it should be soon.

The Maricopa County Parks, working collaboratively with Arizona Game and Fish, is allowing motorized vehicles towing small trailers/watercraft access to the shoreline for a limited time. The area is also open daily for walk-in access. The dates and times for motorized vehicle access are as follows:

  • Saturday, March 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 24 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 31 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, see the Fishing News article above.

ROOSEVELT LAKE - Lake Elevation is 2,122 ft (67 percent full).  Tonto Creek runoff is 21 cfs while inflow from the Salt River is at 481 cfs. 

Texas rigs are working well in 4 to 12 feet of water on main and secondary points in the main lake.  Flukes, Senkos and jerkbait are all productive. 

Have had reports for several weeks about bass on beds in the Salt end of the lake, but haven't heard anything about the Tonto end. Most likely, you'll find some bass staging for the spawn throughout the lake. It's that time of year. An expected weather front this weekend, especially if accompanied by high winds, will change the equation, but only for a short period.

APACHE - Lake elevation is 1,906 feet (92 percent full). 

Anglers are doing well with crankbait on points in shallow water.  Anglers are real happy with the robust nature of the bass both largemouth and smallmouth.  Texas rigs are working well if the water is calm.  Anglers are still doing well in the coves. 

CANYON - Lake elevation is 1,657 ft, which is 94 percent full.

Water temperatures are in the mid 50’s in the main lake.  Bass are shallow between 3 to 15 feet of water.  Crankbait and dropshot worked well for one angler.  Another couple anglers caught 3 bass up river.  A third angler caught a couple bass in about 5 hours of fishing.  One was a small bass was in the pound or pound and a half range and the other one weighed in about 3.5 pounds. 

Also heard from a couple of anglers who picked up some decent-sized trout on small spinners. Canyon Lake has not been stocked with trout since January, so these are obviously some holdovers.

SAGUARO - Lake elevation 1524 feet at 92 percent full. Been getting reports for a couple of weeks now of anglers catching bass on beds, or staging for the spawn. With the full moon this week, we will likely see more bass moving into the spawning mode.

An angler fished from about 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. up river and around islands.  White swimbaits enticed the bite for him. 

Saguaro is also an early-bird lake for channel catfish. In fact, bass anglers sometimes catch them while working shad-like lures. 
BARTLETT – Lake elevation is 1,745 ft, which is 38 percent full.  Reservoir release is 100 cfs. Launching is still difficult; four-wheel drive is best, unless you have a car topper, canoe or kayak. In fact, this is an excellent time for those with kayaks and other small craft because you'll be much less likely to have to worry about recreational boaters.

A couple anglers fished the Rattlesnake Cove area for a half day and caught about 11 bass.  Cranks and jigs worked well.  Crawfish imitations were quite productive.  Don't forget there is an angler trail from Rattlesnake Cove to SB Cove, although with the lake this low, it will be well up from the current water line.

HORSESHOE - Lake is empty. Water is being released at 200 cfs.

VERDE RIVER – Verde River flow at Tangle is 219 cubic feet per second.  Release from Bartlett Lake is 100 cfs. 
LOWER SALT RIVER (below Saguaro Lake) – They are releasing 750 cfs out of Stewart Mountain dam from Saguaro. We stocked 3,000 rainbows last week.

Next stocking will be the week of March 19. Trout fishing should be good on night crawlers, small spinners, casting spoons such as KastMasters and flies.

This is a unique desert river trout fishery in the Upper Sonoran Desert. It's a great place to catch some excellent memories. If a cold front moves through the state this weekend, the Lower Salt might be a good fishing option.

CREEKS – This is a great time of year to try some of the streams along the Mogollon Rim.  The gate to the catch-and-release section of Canyon Creek is still closed for the winter so you will have to hike in to this section.  Access may be difficult to due to snow.  Warmer days can produce a good midge hatch.  If there is no surface activity try dead drifting nymphs and wooly buggers.


Note: If you have a fishing report, send it to "Been Fishing?” at

LAKE POWELL –  Lake Powell Fish Report By Wayne Gustaveson,  March 14, 2012. Lake Elevation: 3,634. Water temperature 50-57 F

Spring weather has arrived with air temps in the 70s and water warming to almost 60 degrees in the shallow muddy floodplains. But as always happens in the spring, cold fronts erase the warming as water returns to the base temperature after windy conditions or a cold night.  Base temperature is now near 50 degrees and will remain there during the coming cold weather front expected next week.

The general pattern for success remains the same.  First look for murky green water in the backs of canyons and coves.  Cloudy water will be slightly warmer than clear and instantly attract cold-blooded fish.  Clear water is not as productive when water is cold.  Second, most fish are associated with brush thickets. Brush can be seen along most of the shoreline but the key to fishing success is to find submerged brush hidden 5-10 feet under the surface.  Third,when in the right spot find a way to successfully fish brush.

Bass anglers have long known about lures that can be cast into the tangle of limbs and then successfully retrieved.  However, this concept is not ingrained in open water striper fisherman.  Here are some new things to try.  Spinner baits are made for brush and are proven tools. Plastic baits can be rigged with the hook buried in the plastic so the lure can be pulled gently through limbs with frequent pauses.  The most effective method this week has been retrieving crankbaits over and around treetops by trolling or casting.

In most tributary flood plains each grove of trees grew to similar heights.  Now most trees within a particular grove are at uniform depths under the water surface.  Graph the forest. Determine treetop depth and then choose a lure that will run through the trees tops. That depth varies from 5 feet to 15 feet depending on the grove.  Small rattletraps, shallow jerk baits and shallow runners will run at 5 feet or less.  Most lures run at 8-12 feet. These will snag occasionally so bring a spare. Of course there will be an occasional tall tree in every forest so all trolled lures will snag in the limbs close to the surface.  Some snags just cannot be avoided. 

LEES FERRY -- Report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers, By Terry Gunn, at  (You can sign up to have their report sent to your e-mail address).

Fly Fishing Up-River.

New water flows began March 1 and the river is running 7,000 cfs to 13,000 cfs; the water is slowly and steadily rising throughout the day and not dropping until late in the evening. This flow is very different from the flows in February which were rising and then dropping at noon and then rising again after 5 p.m. The current flows are better for fishing as fish are much happier with rising water than falling water.

These new flows have really opened up the river creating an abundance of wading opportunities. To help put the current flow levels into perspective; our current high flow is approximately four vertical feet lower than the flows that we saw last year…the river is finally back to normal. It is really good to be back in the river, wading and sight casting.

The most important news is that the sun is moving higher in the sky each day and sunlight is really starting to shine through much of the canyon. The prolific spring midge hatches are sure to follow and should start any day now that the air is warming. The hatches are starting but have yet to pour off. When the midges really come off, the fish move from the deeper water into the riffles to feed on the abundant feast of the emerging midges. This is when the entire river fishes good. Until the midge hatches begin in earnest some areas of the river fish better than others.

The spawn is very weak this year. I figure that this is a “compensatory response” due to the fact that the spawn and recruitment has been so successful the past couple of years. This is a natural response by the fish and I have seen it many times over the years and next year will likely be different.

Nymphing the riffles using either a standard nymph rig or double tiny has been very productive with the rising water conditions. Glo-Bugs or San Juan Worm with a zebra midge dropper or using two zebra midges of various sizes and or colors has been fishing the best.

Using a dry fly with a dropper such as a Zebra Midge or Glo-Bug has had some success depending on the water one is fishing. The dry dropper rig has been most productive in the shallower water. As the weather continues to warm up and the midge hatches increase, the fishing in the riffles and the back eddies will get better. Another option as the fish move into the shallows is using a double tiny rig as described on our website.

Although the water has come down another option is fishing a small streamer or wooly bugger. With these lower flows a person can wade and continue to fish streamers. The better streamer areas tend to be where the riffles drop off into slower deeper pools. Emphasizing the swing then stripping the fly up the seam has produced some good fish. The key to successful streamer fishing is varying the strip retrieve. When streamer fishing, we were recommending  a Teeny 120 or 200 grain sinking tip or a similar line in the higher flows. But now a shorter and lighter sink tip line will work better and even a streamer fished on a long leader and floating line will work in several areas of the river.

Walk-In Report: By Andy Vincent

This area of the river has been fishing well. Nymphing has been the most productive technique lately. Fishing with a Midge below a San Juan worm or bead head scud has worked well. Managing your depth and weight is the key to success. You want your rig to be double the depth of the water your fishing from your lead to your indicator and increase or decrease weight to match the water speed and you should do well.

You can also try Glo-bugs as there has been some spawn activity. Extend the drift and cover as much water as possible to increase your chances. Stripping Wooly Buggers is also productive when all else fails. Olive, brown and Black have been working well but don’t be afraid to try other colors.

As far as areas in the Walk-in to fish, the confluence of the Paria with the Colorado always seems to be productive as well as the area just above and below the big rock. The Boulder field should turn on as the temperature increases and hatches take off. Look for the clean rock and gravel to concentrate your efforts. The areas with lots of moss tend not to hold the fish as well.

Spin fishing the walk-in: By Dean Windham

Spin fishing has not been as good as fly fishing the past few weeks. The river flows are fluctuating and these flow changes appear to make the fish take the spinner only at certain times of the days. The feeding habits have been changing on a daily basis so I can’t give a specific time but mid-day has been when I have had the best luck.

Gold is the color and it works with KastMasters or Panther Martin size 1/4 oz. or size 6. Jigs and bouncing Glo-Bugs works has been working well at times if you can get the lure down to where the fish are. There is a lot of moss in the water due to the fluctuating flows so you will have to clean off the moss every other cast or so.

The upper walk-in area is not great for spinners as the water is low and there are many underwater obstacles such as rocks and branches. The area at and below the large boulder fishes very well and has some nice seams out about 20-30 feet from shore. There are some really fat fish holding in these seams that will take spinners or drifted jigs and Glo- bugs. The trick here is to keep moving and change your lure or color of your lure often.

Always be aware of the rising flows and enjoy all of the great scenery.

Spin Fishing Up River:

Spin fishing is good! It’s all about bouncing Glo bugs, San Juan Worms and Scuds off the bottom. You can also try fishing with gold KastMasters, black and gold Panther Martins #5s or Rapalas in perch or trout. Also definitely don’t forget about the marabou jig; this one has been working great and has been very reliable.

When spin fishing up river look for the seams that are out where the fast and slow water meet. This is where you will find some nice fish holding. Don’t be afraid to make long cast but accuracy is important.

If you have some news you would like to report about fishing lees ferry, the walk-in section or up river please e-mail your report to:  Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report. We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.

LAKE MEAD – The current water level is still approximately 1132 feet above msl.  As the water rises more and more vegetation, mostly in the form of small salt cedars, gets flooded and makes habitat for fish.  There seems to be an abundance of shad currently which may be the reason for the lack of bite.  Cut anchovies are still the bait of choice.  Check the moon phases before you go –the next new moon will be March 22.  Dark nights work best when fishing under light.

Fishing for stripers in 50 plus feet of water will normally find the larger fish. If you can locate the shad, the stripers are not far behind.  Trolling usually works best in areas were shad are found and best done in the early mornings and evenings.  The bite for largemouth and smallmouth was reported good using plastic worms and crawdads with purple and browns in them.  Several fishermen said that top water lures were working for them.  All the fishermen contacted were hopeful for the coming years with rising water conditions and the abundance of baitfish they have seen this year.   

Launching conditions at South Cove have improved as the water level has gone up. There are currently four lanes.  As the water raises logs and other debris can become hazards, so be careful boating.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at or visit

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level has maintained about 641 feet above msl.  The black bass are hitting soft baits when worked slowly especially on grass beds in 20 to 30 feet deep. Trolling with anchovies in 30-50 feet has been producing some stripers, while catfish are on the bottom.  While the number of stripers in Mohave has been decreasing, the quality of the fish caught has increased. Best time to fish is at night for cats and he likes fishing for largemouth and smallmouth in the early morning with blue, black and purple and black grubs and worms. 

Submersible lights fished during the new moon are an effective way to catch stripers. Next new moon is March 22.  Cut anchovies usually work the best. 

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove, Shoshone, and Arrowhead.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine's Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit

WILLOW BEACH – Willow Beach is stocked every Friday with 3,000 13-inch rainbow trout.  Rainbow, peach, garlic and yellow Power Baits and Power Worms were being used most for trout.  Jakes original and Jakes Juniors, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails are also usually effective.

Fishing is usually best near the fishing pier after the Friday stocking. Most of the nice stripers and trout are seem to be caught between river mile 49 and 53.  Last Saturday a fisherman reported that he had no luck and that people around him were not catching anything.  Willow Beach can be hit-or-miss bait fishing.  Try different baits including swim baits when nobody seems to be hooking anything. 

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout continue to bite in the casino area with some larger fish in the deep holes.  Several folks have called and spoke of very large trout being caught in the Laughlin area.  Rusty from Riviera Marina sent pictures of Amanda and her huge 3.92 lb. and 3.42 lb. rainbow and a nice stringer of smaller trout caught in the Rotary Park area on night crawlers.  She told Rusty that another large fish almost taking all of her line before breaking off leading us to believe some big stripers have made their way back.  Reports of 5 – 2 lb. range trout are being taken as far down the river as Topock Gorge.  They were using anything from night crawlers with and without marshmallows to Power Bait.   Overall the fishing is great on the river with large rainbow trout still being caught. 

Topock Gorge -The report from the Gorge is that the cold has slowed the bite down.  The reported bright spot is that the bluegill bite is hot and heavy with fish up to 2.25 lbs being taken.  A group from Brighton MI had a blast catching bluegill and redear on small brass crappie hooks baited with very small pieces of night crawler.  Smallmouth and largemouth are being a little harder to catch but that should change with a few warm days.  A 3.5 lb largemouth was recently caught on night crawlers.

Rainbow trout are stocked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service monthly during the winter. The fish are normally stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Stocking at Rotary Park has made another access point to the river for fishing and has made many people happy.  Trout fishing at the stocking sites is great immediately following the stockings, then the fish move out and you need to find them.

Rainbow trout are located throughout the river below Davis dam, but anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside, off the shore of Davis Camp and in the big bend area. This year we have received multiple reports of larger holdover trout being caught.  Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses.

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

TOPOCK MARSH – The action at Topock Marsh has been steadily improving. Night crawlers and live minnows have been tempting catfish from North Dyke. Bass can be hit and miss but live bait has been reported to work the best now.  Stripers appear abundant from the February AZGFD survey. Small crappies are being taken throughout the marsh. 

You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's web pages at  or visit


Note: If you would like more information on southwestern waters, visit Our Yuma Regional office has recently updated all the information to provide you more insight into these fisheries.

LAKE HAVASU -- Report couresy John Galbraith of, Lake Havasu City, Az.

Lake level 447.38. Striper bite is good using cut anchovies still fishing from CrazyHorse
north to the entrance to the river/sandbar. Be sure to throw out extra chum to attract these schools of prespawn stripers. Trolling Pointer 100s or 128s during the first hour of light producing some quality stripers from 4 to 6 pounds.

Topwater action will start soon as overnight water temps hit 65 degrees when stripers start feeding overnight on shallow rocky or gravel flats where they feed on crawdads.

Smallmouth bass are in full spawn now. Any small dropshotted worm like the Roboworms, Gitzits or small plastic craws like the Huddlebug will also work well on these aggressive bass which are defending their bedding areas. The key is the bait must contact the bottom to trigger the bass to strike.

Please practice catch-and-release during this time to give our bass a chance to reproduce and make our fishery
even better.
Wildlife Manager Suzanne Ehret said anglers have been catching redear and bluegill using meal worms at Site Six. The bass anglers she talked to were mostly catching smallmouth bass, and it looks like the largemouth bass aren't as active yet. She also saw a pair of anglers who had caught one striper from the fishing docks where the Bill Williams River enters the lake.

For more information, visit the updated "Where to Fish" pages at

PARKER STRIP -- No recent reports.

ALAMO LAKE --  Bass are on beds and the fishing is pretty good. The winning weight for a tournament last weekend was 20 pounds.

The catfishing is absolutely on fire -- this is probably the best lake for springtime channel catfish in Arizona.

Crappie fishing really picked up this week, but the expected weather front on Sunday will likely cool off the bite for a few days.

The Cholla Launch Ramp has been fixed, widened and is now open.

COLORADO RIVER (PARKER STRIP AREA) -- Fishing for smallmouth bass over two pounds in size is expected to be good to excellent.  In addition, redear sunfish should also be good in the pound-plus sizes.  

The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream.  The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate sized redear sunfish of two pounds or larger.

Channel and flathead catfish fishing is always fair in this section of the Colorado River.  Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair, using live shad or anchovies.  Largemouth bass are abundant, especially in the downstream portions of the Parker Strip.  Channel and flathead catfish fishing will be fair to good in this section of the Colorado River as the weather warms up.

Take precautions to make sure your boat and equipment is clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other water by accident.  

COLORADO RIVER (Picacho State Park to Imperial Dam, including backwaters and Martinez Lake) 

This stretch of the river is best known for its trophy-sized flathead catfish, with some over 70 pounds and largemouth bass, with some over 10 pounds. However, it can also be good for channel catfish, sunfish and carp and to a lesser extent striped bass, crappie and tilapia.

Largemouth bass fishing is generally best in the backwaters or near the mouth of the backwaters. There are many different techniques used for largemouth bass. As a general rule, most people will use topwater lures such as buzzbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning and then switch to jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits as the day progresses.
Using plastic baits that resemble worms, crawdads, frogs, or lizards often work well. It is generally best to fish around structure such as weedbeds, emergent vegetation, tree stumps, brush, or boat docks. Fishing picks up as the water temperatures warm up in the spring and summer but largemouth can be taken any time of the year.

Flathead fishing is generally best in slack water areas, deep holes, or near overhanging vegetation along the main channel of the river. Flatheads prefer live bait such as bluegill or small carp and fishing is best at night during the summer months. Channel catfish are wide spread in the main river channel and backwaters and will bite on night crawlers, chicken liver, stinkbait, or about any other “smelly” bait. They can be caught year-round but probably bite best at night.

Bluegill are also widespread but are most likely to be found around structure in the backwaters or slackwater areas. Bluegill will bite on meal worms, night crawlers or small crappie jigs.

MITTRY LAKE -- Mittry Lake is located just above Laguna Dam, and supports a good population of largemouth bass and channel catfish, and even some good-sized flathead catfish.  There are shoreline fishing opportunities at this lake in the form of about a dozen rock jetties, but you’ll probably have the best success in a small boat.  Mittry Lake can be frustrating, as the bite seems to be real variable, but the fish are there.  It is just a question of getting them to respond to your presentation.  The water tends to be very murky most of the year, except for the upper end of Teal Alley where the lake inflow comes in, so play to the fish’s sense of hearing and smell, rather than sight.  There are also crappie and sunfish to be caught, although they tend to average relatively small in size. Mittry Lake is well-known locally for the quality largemouth bass it produces, and fishing during the spring spawn will increase your chances of success.

YUMA AREA PONDS -- The Department has stepped up efforts to encourage the recruitment of new anglers, and retention of existing ones.  To this end, the Department has increased stocking efforts in a few ponds in the Yuma area that are easily accessed without a boat, within a short distance of the urban center.  Those ponds are the Yuma West Wetlands pond, located in the City Park, and Redondo and Fortuna ponds, located about 10 miles northeast of Yuma.  Access to Redondo Pond was recently improved with the addition of an ADA compliant fishing pier, and thick cattail growth was removed at Fortuna Pond this summer, improving shoreline access by many orders of magnitude.  All of these waters received multiple stockings of rainbow trout in the winter months; Redondo Pond will be stocked with channel catfish during the spring, and the Yuma West Wetlands pond will receive channel catfish and bluegills.  We may be able to stock Fortuna Pond with channel catfish in the future, pending the outcome of the statewide sport-fish stocking consultation with the USFWS that is hopefully nearing completion.  Depending on available funding, we hope to continue regular stockings into all three of these shoreline-accessible waters, and perhaps add additional waters to our stocking schedule.  These ponds provide an ideal place to take the family.  All three waters now are provided with restroom and trash facilities. Special regulations on fish limits are in effect for these waters, so be sure to consult the Regulations before you take fish.

REGIONAL HOT SPOTS -- Alamo Lake will continue to be a hot spot for plentiful largemouth bass and channel catfish, although trophy-sized fish will be uncommon.  Lake Havasu is probably currently the premier lake in our Region (and perhaps the State) for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and redear sunfish.  Numbers caught will likely be lower, but the quality of the fish much higher.  The Parker Strip should remain excellent for smallmouth bass and redear sunfish, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp down to Imperial Dam the best bet for large and plentiful flathead catfish.  Our spring surveys indicate that there is a very impressive population of flathead catfish in the lower Imperial Division between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam.  Expect many in the 5-10 pounds size class, but we know of at least one state record lurking in those waters.  Backwaters in the Imperial Division above Imperial Dam will continue to yield impressive largemouth bass, up to and exceeding 10 pounds.

If you need any additional information or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have. A very good resource for local fishing information in the Yuma area is the website and forum at



Note: We anticipate being able to stock the William's area lakes early this year, perhaps in April, with some nice sized trout. It will all depend on lake accessibility and weather.

KAIBAB LAKE — The road is open, but the campground is closed. Has been stocked twice already, so trout fishing should be decent. No reports on fishing.

CATARACT LAKE — Not accessible. Had open water on Monday before the storm, but the gate was still closed.

CITY RESERVOIR — No reports.

DOGTOWN LAKE — No recent reports. It was accessible, but the expected storm may change that. Check before going.

JD DAM — No report.

RUSSELL TANK -   The lake is too shallow to stock.

SANTA FE — No Report.

WHITEHORSE LAKE — Not accessible.


LOWER LAKE MARY — No recent reports. Mostly dry.

UPPER LAKE MARY — An angler reported catching a 3-pound walleye while trolling. This is a good time of year to catch walleye, and the northern pike fishing should be getting better as well. However, the angler also reported that the lake level is a little low, making it difficult to launch larger boats. Hopefully, the expected storm this weekend will invigorate the watershed.

ASHURST LAKE — No recent reports. Check with the Forest Service on road conditions before going. Biologists did survey Ashurst, and it looks like a strong population of hold-over trout to fish once public access is possible. The expected storm this weekend may postpone that access some, but it's wait-and-see.


KINNIKINICK LAKE — Not accessible.

MARSHALL LAKE —  Not accessible.

LONG LAKE — Not accessible.



Verde Valley

DEAD HORSE STATE PARK – Catfish were last stocked for the Verde River Days event.  Trout were last stocked the week of Feb. 20.  The next stocking is scheduled for the week of March 12.  The catfish and largemouth bite has been fair.  Catfish are still being caught on night crawlers, chicken liver, and stink bait. The bass are being caught on small plastic worms and Gitzit-type plastic grubs, bounced slowly along the bottom. Sunfish have been doing well on worms, salmon eggs, or small piece of Powerbait under a bobber. They bite best in the early morning hours and the evening.

VERDE RIVER (throughout Verde Valley) – Trout were last stocked the week of March 5.  The next scheduled stocking is the week of March 19. Trout fishing should be okay using night crawlers, Power Bait or small spinners.

Carp fishing has been good using corn or dough baits.  Always check your regulations before fishing this area with live bait.  Game and Fish Commission Rule requires anglers to only use live bait that has been caught in the river.  No transporting of live baitfish or crayfish is allowed. 

 WEST CLEAR CREEK -- Stocked last week, the week of March 5, with rainbow trout. Trout fishing should be okay using night crawlers, Power Bait or small spinners.

WET BEAVER CREEK -- Stocked last week, the week of March 5, with rainbow trout. Trout fishing should be okay using night crawlers, Power Bait or small spinners.

Prescott Area

FAIN LAKE — Stocked FAIN LAKE — The last stocking was the week of Feb. 6.  The next scheduled stocking is this week, the week of March 12.  The reports from regulars at the lake say the trout are biting, but the morning bite is the best.  Anglers are having luck throughout the day using power bait and Berkley Gulp.  Rainbow and yellow seem to be the popular colors.  Fishermen using their fly rod gear are having the best luck.  Brown trout and rainbows are hitting the flies very well with one fisherman catching 47 fish (all browns) off the same fly.  Flies are less likely to get swallowed so releasing the fish is much easier.  

GOLDWATER LAKE — Scheduled to be stocked this week (the week of March 11). Many anglers have reported doing well.  Power Bait is probably your best bet, although spinners and flies can do well also.  Jimmy C. caught his limit on light colored power bait and reported he gilled them the same day and they were delicious.  Like most fishing areas, one day the bite is great and the next it’s slow.

Game and Fish has been trying to boost the some of the warm water species in Goldwater.  Bass and catfish have been stocked three times over the last four years.   The bass are being stocked to give a boost to a dwindling population in the lake and to reduce the excessive number of crayfish.  Please practice catch and release with the bass, while the population gets re-established.

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Goldwater on Sept. 15, 2009 and found bass and catfish populations to be much improved over last year. The number of green sunfish was greatly reduced.  The bass had a successful spawn last year.   If you fish Goldwater and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

GRANITE BASIN LAKE –Fishing should be slow for the winter.  If you fish Granite Basin and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

LYNX LAKE – Rainbow are scheduled to be stocked this week (the week of March 11). Rainbow trout were last stocked the week of Feb. 6.  Try Power Bait, night crawlers or small spinners such as Mepps and Rooster Tails. 

Cut anchovies, night crawlers or hot dog are your best bet for catfish. Lynx also can be an exciting place to fish for carp.  Common carp are very strong fighters and will provide an excellent table fair. A quick search on the internet will produce tasty recipes for these robust fish. Corn and an assortment of other baits will attract these fish. Lynx can be difficult to fish, if you are not catching anything try moving to a new spot. There are some good spots on the north end of the lake that don’t get fished as heavily as the south end does.

MINGUS LAKE – The last stocking was scheduled for the week of Oct. 17.  This should change the trout bite.  Yellow bullhead catfish are active and easy to catch with nightcrawlers on the bottom. For trout the best bait is usually orange, pink, or white Power Bait, fished on the bottom with a treble hook and an egg sinker.  Fishing can be really good at times, because angler use is lower than other lakes in the area.  This lake is more remote than the other Prescott area lakes and not very big.  The lake is open as weather permits.  Forest Road 104 is relatively impassable when wet.  The lake is still open to foot traffic.

Someone illegally stocked yellow bullhead into Mingus several years ago. These fish compete directly with the trout and keep growth rates very low. If you witness anyone, anywhere, moving fish like bass, bluegill, catfish and stocking them, please report it to our Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700.  Illegal stockings cost YOU money!

WATSON – The last trout stocking was the week of February 13th.   Folks have caught 16-17 inch holdover trout from the shore near the new boat launch.  If you have fished Watson Lake please send me a report of your trip to share with folks. 

Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Watson last week and found the bass, sunfish, and bullhead to be plentiful.  Crappies were also doing well.  Look for the crappie fishing to pick up in a year or two. If you fish Watson and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR –   The fishing should be slow until the water warms up I the spring. 
If you fish Willow and are having luck, please e-mail me at so I can share your successes with others.


Recommended Waters to Fish

Recommended Waters to Fish
Most lower elevation lakes have open water and can be fished.  Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Scotts Reservoir, and Nelson Reservoir are recommended for general fishing.  Anglers have been catching trout, walleye, catfish and bass at Fool Hollow Lake.  Trout are being caught at Show Low Lake on peacock ladies.  For catch-and-release anglers, Silver Creek and Becker Lake are fair to good.

Trout Stocking Schedule
The trout stocking schedule will resume in April 2012.

Note:  All Forest Roads in the Rim Lakes area are closed for the winter, including Forest Roads 300 (Rim Road), 169, 105, 149, 86 and southern portion of 34.  Snowmobile access is allowed.  The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered, but the ice is likely to be thin and unsafe due to a long spell of unseasonably warm weather.

Angler Report: Hi Rory,

I tried to fish Willow Springs yesterday (3/13) but it is still iced over (pix attached).  FR 149 is open and easily accessible to Sardine Point.  I threw some large rocks out 10 ft or so and the ice didn’t break so it appears to still be pretty thick.

I only say this because your report today states FR149 is closed and hike in is the only way to the lake.  I’d hate for folks to hike all that way (fm the main road) and find the lake still iced over.

I ended up fishing the urban lake in Payson (Green Valley? Off main street).  Caught 4 decent pan sized trout in a couple of hrs.  A couple of 8-10 yr old boys caught several over 12” and one over 14” from the dock.  We all used worms and power bait.

Thanks for all your great reporting and the handy tips in your fishing report!

Mark Reabold


BEAR CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.  Unsafe ice.

BLACK CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 300 and 86 are closed for the winter.  Unsafe ice.

CHEVELON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 300 and 169 are closed for the winter.

WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE – Accessible by foot only from Hwy 260.  Forest Road 149 is closed for the winter.  Unsafe ice.

WOODS CANYON LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Road 300 is closed for the winter.  Unsafe ice.

Note:  Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The higher elevation lakes are ice-covered.  Check ice thickness before venturing out on the ice.

BECKER LAKE – Fishing is fair to good.  The lake is ice-free.  Some fly fishermen are catching a few trout on nymphs (red/white midge nymphs and black woolly buggers).  One skilled angler recently reported catching 20 trout up to 22” on midges.  One fly fisher released a 25 inch rainbow last weekend. Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, with artificial lures and flies only with single barbless hooks.

BIG LAKE – Not accessible.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The lake is ice-covered. 
CARNERO LAKE – Not accessible.  Forest Roads 117 and 117A are snow-packed and accessible by snowmobile only.  The lake is ice-covered.

CONCHO LAKE – Fishing is poor.  Water levels are extremely low, and the lake is covered with weeds. 

CRESCENT LAKE – Not accessible.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The lake is ice-covered.

FOOL HOLLOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.   The lake is ice-free.  Anglers are catching bluegills on jigs off the fishing piers, and a few holdover trout (9-22 inches) on worms.  A few walleye, channel catfish and small bass are also being caught on bait and lures.

GREER LAKES – No reports.  River Reservoir, Bunch Reservoir, and Tunnel Reservoir are ice-free as of last weekend.  Water temperatures are cold. 

HULSEY LAKE – The lake was drained immediately following the Wallow Fire to help reduce expected flooding off Escudilla Mountain.

LEE VALLEY LAKE – Not accessible.  Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The lake is ice-covered.

LUNA LAKE – No reports.  The lake is ice-free.  Water temperatures are cold. 

LYMAN LAKE – Lyman Lake State Park is closed to public entry for the winter and will re-open during the summer of 2012.

NELSON RESERVOIR – Fishing is fair.  The lake is ice-free.  Try fishing nightcrawlers or Power Bait in deep water.

RAINBOW LAKE – Fishing is poor.  The lake is ice-free.

SCOTT RESERVOIR – Fishing is poor to fair.  The lake is ice-free. 

SHOW LOW LAKE – Fishing is fair.  The lake is ice-free.  The road over the dam to the far fishing pier is closed for the winter.  Boat rentals may be available soon, see the campground host.  Some of the campgrounds are open.  Fly fishermen are catching a few trout (12-14 inches) at the southeast end of the lake on peacock ladies.  Walleye anglers should try fishing lures such as Rapala’s early in the morning or late evening.

WOODLAND LAKE – Fishing is poor.  The lake is ice-free.

Note: Highways 261 and 273 are closed to vehicle access for the winter.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  Main Forest Roads are snow-packed with many of them closed or inaccessible for the winter.  

EAST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Not accessible.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered.

WEST FORK of the BLACK RIVER – Not accessible.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered. 

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER IN GREER – Fishing is likely slow.  The river is accessible and open, but will have snowpacked banks.

SHEEPS CROSSING – Not accessible.  Highway 273 is closed to vehicles.  Snowmobiles are allowed.  The river is snow-packed and ice-covered. 

SILVER CREEK – Fishing is fair to good.  Silver Creek is a spring-fed creek and does not ice over during the winter.  From October 1 through March 31, Silver Creek is open to artificial lures and flies only, barbless hooks, and catch-and-release fishing only.  The upper section is open to angling, but the hatchery area is always closed to fishing (it is well signed).  Try small nymphs, large white and black streamers, and lures with barbless hooks.


Note: Please send me your fishing reports from Southern Arizona!  Fishing reports can be sent to Don Mitchell, Regional Fish Program Manager by email at  These reports will then be complied and reported in our weekly fishing reports.

Warm temperatures have begun to raise water temperatures and anglers can expect to start catching bass and sunfish as these become more active with the increasing temperatures. 

Summer trout stocking will begin soon at Rose Canyon Lake and Riggs Flat provided water quality parameters are favorable.

The summer stocking schedule for the entire state can be found here:  2012 Summer Stocking Schedule .  This schedule is updated as changes occur so check back often! 

Need ideas on where to go fishing?  Try the Departments new interactive Fish and Boat Map: Fish and Boat Arizona.

RIGGS FLAT — Closed for the winter.  Scheduled to be stocked the last week of April if the roads are open.

CLUFF RANCH —No recent reports of success however, the pond received its last trout stocking of the winter last week.  The pond is close to being full and there should be no problems with boat launching.  For lake information call (928) 485-9430.

ROPER LAKE — The lake received its final trout stocking of the season last week.  For lake information (928) 428-6760.
DANKWORTH POND — Remains closed to access during renovation. 

FRYE MESA RESERVIOR –Anglers continue to report success in catching Gila trout.  Remember that the daily bag and possession limit for this species is 1 fish.

ARIVACA — Open to anglers, water levels are continuing to drop and it will be difficult to launch larger boats.  Use caution when launching your boat and pay attention for submerged trees and rocks that are near the surface due to low water levels.  Boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.

PENA BLANCA – Pena Blanca will receive its last trout stocking of the season this week.  Warm water fish stockings are scheduled to begin the end of April with largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish redear sunfish and channel catfish all planned to be stocked. 

PATAGONIA — Fishing is picking up with a few bass being caught in shallower water.  The spawn is close so anglers can expect to see more activity. 

PARKER CANYON — Fly anglers are reporting success as are anglers that are trolling.  Parker Canyon will receive its last trout stocking for the season the week of April 2.

Contact the Parker Canyon Lake Store for up to date information on lake levels and fishing activity at or by phone at (520)455-5847.

ROSE CANYON LAKE — Anglers are reporting small brown trout are being caught pretty regularly.  The lake is closed to vehicle access however anglers are still able to walk to the lake.  Recent reports are that fly anglers are catching fish. Scheduled to be stocked the second week of April and conditions are favorable. 


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